a way, both. I’m currently sitting just off Tahrir Square with the
woman who started "no to military trials", a musician, one of Cairo’s
most active street artists, and a novelist of the revolution. That is
precisely the question we’re discussing now – and we are split down the
middle. Half of us see this as a victory for the revolution and the
other half as a victory for the counterrevolution – half as a step
forward, half as a step backwards.
We’re in this café, not the square, for a reason. We all feel and
know that this is not the square we owned – as if we have no tangible
place in it, despite knowing that we hold a "place" in the revolution.
I’m in the optimistic half. Despite the fact that I’ve been most vocal about this unease for a few weeks now. Here’s why.
years ago there were untold millions who either knew nothing of the
revolution or had no time for it because they couldn’t afford a minute
off. Some resented it for stripping them of their privileges. Others
even saw it as a return to the nice, "civilised" Egypt that they knew
under British occupation and the monarchy!
What we have today is a
mixture of the following. Several million Egyptians who previous took
to the streets and remember the Muslim Brotherhood’s lies, the blood
they abandoned and the blood they themselves spilled. And many more,
particularly outside the cities (where Mohamed Morsi still managed to fare well
in the presidential elections after a six-month majority in parliament)
have taken to the streets to protest their despair and disappointment in
those they placed their faith in – not just now, but for a good 20
However overarching this is a set of objections to the
Muslim Brotherhood’s rule that transcend class, religion, social
occupation or revolutionary reference points.
is still a very strong discourse that Hosni Mubarak, and Anwar Sadat’s regime
before him, built over many years and for specific historical reasons.
This discourse is built on both a rejection of "political Islam" without
a rejection of Islam itself – indeed they entrenched Islamic discourse.
At the same time they built a fairytale scenario where the Muslim
Brotherhood and its members contain some transgenerational,
transpolitical trait that causes them to rule ruthlessly and
dictatorially, in a manner that is somehow worse than Sadat or Mubarak’s
This is what motivates the majority of Egyptians
on the streets today, though to varying levels. It is most extremely
entrenched within the middle classes, and among Coptic Egyptians and
older generations. Another motivating feature of the protests is a
bourgeois notion of safety or “law and order” having disintegrated over
the past few years, particularly under Morsi’s rule.
revolution itself is yet to explicitly take up an ideology or
“leadership”, and there are so many who have taken to the streets
against Morsi simply to protest against their social and economic living
conditions without any clear alternative in mind.
I feel the
majority of those I encounter are there to remove the Muslim Brotherhood
and their beards before they are out to remove the government. Here, I
am in a minority. Beyond that though it seems as if most people are out
to remove the government rather than wanting to install the military in
power. Here, I am with the majority.
So the victory for the
revolution today, in my opinion, shows the ruling class’s weakness. Our
prime fear should not be the military, as there are many who do not find
the answer to their prayers there. The victory for the
counterrevolution is quite frankly the threat of popular sectarian
violence against a particular group of citizens that also happens to be
the military’s greatest political foe.
rank and file of the army will only consider such a situation if the
majority or a large number of lay soldiers are forced to rule and
govern, and deal with civilians. However, if the army can achieve what
it had managed to not only in the shape of Morsi but also Sadat, Mubarak
and Nasser – that is, rule under the auspices of revolutionary or
liberal parliamentary governance – then there is no need for such direct
rule, and as a consequence the circumstances will not necessarily be
ripe for the institution’s disintegration.
of class have nowhere in Egypt’s history (save for short spells in the
1890s and 1920s-'30s) asserted themselves over political, cultural or
socio-religious considerations. It is difficult to speak of a workers’
party when we cannot speak of any more than 700,000 to a million
Egyptians who identify with this notion at the most basic level.
class self-organisation has not ebbed one bit over the past five years,
and under current circumstances there is nowhere for working-class
consciousness to go but to develop further. However I say this to
emphasise that while revolutionaries in Egypt use the slogan “general
strike until the regime falls”, and many agree, on the ground for all of
us the main contradiction that needs explaining – or the main discourse
we feel we lack – is a revolutionary narrative against the current
government that stands on clear principle with respect to the military’s
role, while also rejecting the reactionary discourse against the Muslim
Brotherhood specifically and supporters of political Islam more
Right now I can hear the calls to prayer, and a march
chanting "Egypt (clap clap clap) Egypt". And this is what I was
referring to earlier in terms of the reactionary discourse of the
revolt, making nationalist, militaristic sentiment the focus.
left has the capacity to nurture and give confidence to those sections
of the square who have no vested interest in military rule. We are
working hard to keep chants and art against "el 3askar" (military rule)
on the walls and on our tongues. The left will no doubt work hard to
defend human rights and reject any calls for indiscriminate violence
against any group. It will continue to build campaigns against sexual assault,
and against the electricity shortages across Egypt’s governorates.
However uncomfortable we might sometimes feel, communists’ place is on
the streets, where the masses are.
is also a topic we have been discussing for a few days. At one end
there are those like myself who thought the army’s game was to keep
supporting the revolutionary movement on the street – and popular
violence against the Muslim Brotherhood – while leaving the Brotherhood
in power until its organisation had disintegrated enough to no longer
pose a threat to the military. This would also have meant waiting until
at least a good chunk of the population were at the point where they
were begging for the army to rule. The other half predicted that the
street would outstrip the military’s expectations, and want the
government out ASAP.
ElBaradei or any similar liberals might be
an unnecessary phase for the military if popular demand for straight-up
military rule is high enough, and the Brotherhood is weak enough. For
those with the latter view, ElBaradei is part of a larger play than just
encouraging popular revolt against the Brotherhood, and will quite
frankly be the next suit the military will rule through.
important to remember that the US government plays a not insignificant
role in these outcomes. If the US has given up on the project of a
client political Islam state in Egypt, at least for the time being, them
some setup with ElBaradei at the helm is not unlikely.
I can hear celebrations – gunshots in the air. I’m half deaf! Wish you were here.
July 4, 2013 -- What happened on June 30
was, without the slightest doubt, the historic beginning of a new wave
of the Egyptian revolution, the largest wave since January 2011. The
number of people who demonstrated on that legendary day is estimated to
exceed 17 million citizens, an unprecedented occurrence in history.
This surpasses in significance any participation by old regime remnants,
or the apparent support of the army and police. Mass demonstrations of
millions are exceedingly rare events in human history, and their effect
on the consciousness and confidence of the populace in themselves and
in their power to change the course of history transcend the limitations
of the slogans raised and the political alternatives put forward.
the liberal bourgeois elite wanted to use this mass impetus to
overthrow the rule of the Islamist elite, in order to themselves reach
power with the endorsement and support of the military institution. And
it is true that the feloul (old regime remnants) wanted to return to
the political scene by way of this new revolutionary tide. But there is
a special logic to popular revolutions that will not submit to the
illusions or schemes of the liberals or feloul, even if sections of the
masses were temporarily affected by the slogans and promises of that
elite, just as they were affected before by the slogans and promises of
the Islamist elite.
Yes, there is influence from the huge media and
propaganda campaigns, undertaken by sections of the ruling class opposed
to the Muslim Brotherhood, about how the army and police are standing
with the people, about their neutrality and patriotism, even their
“revolutionary nature”! But this influence is momentary and
superficial, and cannot erase the memory and direct experience of the
people of the counterrevolutionary character and opposition to the
masses, whether it be the institutions of the military or the security
The true reason for this temporary influence is the
betrayal of the liberal opposition, as represented by the National
Salvation Front, of the goals of the Egyptian revolution and the blood
of the martyrs, in order to shorten their path to power. The true
reason is the absence of a united revolutionary political alternative
capable of exposing the National
Salvation Front and winning the masses to a concrete
revolutionary program; a project that can surpass both the liberal and
Islamist elite and proceed forward to deepen the Egyptian revolution,
sweeping away all of the institutions of the old regime, including the
military and security institutions, which are the heart of the
The masses have not revolted anew out of a desire
for military rule or love for the feloul liberal alternative to the
Muslim Brotherhood. They have revolted anew because Morsi and the
Brotherhood betrayed the revolution. They did not implement even one of
the demands of the revolution for social justice, freedom, human
dignity or retribution for the martyrs of the revolution, whether they
fell at the hands of Mubarak and al Adli, the Supreme Council of the
Armed Forces, or at the hands of the Brotherhood and the Interior
Ministry during the period of Brotherhood rule.
In fact, Brotherhood
rule deepened the same policies as the Mubarak regime, of impoverishment
and corruption, and the desperate defence of big business interests in
the service of [US] and Zionist interests.
Rather than purging
the state apparatus of corruption and of those who smeared their hands
with the blood of the martyrs, whether in the Interior Ministry or the
military institution or secret intelligence, they held to their bargains
with them, hoping for the participation of the Brotherhood in state
administration along with the feloul and Mubarak’s men.
Brotherhood rule became merely an extension on all levels of the Mubarak
regime against which the Egyptian people had revolted.
This is the
essence of the new revolutionary explosion which began on this historic
June 30. The Brotherhood did not understand this essence, so its
popularity evaporated within months. And this is what the leaders of
the military institution do not understand, nor their civilian cover
represented by the National Salvation Front with their liberals and
feloul. For it is not at gunpoint that they take the same policies
pursued by Morsi, the military council and Mubarak before them. The
same neoliberal economic policies, the same strategic alliances with the
oppressive monarchs of the Gulf, the same humiliating dependency on US and Zionist colonialism.
The governments and media outlets
of the US and European bourgeoisie are trying to describe what has
happened in Egypt as if it were only a military coup against a
democratically elected president, or a coup against the “legitimacy” of
formal democracy. But what has happened in reality far surpasses formal
democracy with its ballot boxes. It is legitimacy via the democracy of
the popular revolution, direct democracy creating revolutionary
legitimacy. It opens the horizons to new forms of popular power which
dwarf the temporary democracy of the ballot boxes, which results in
nothing but the sustaining of bourgeois rule with its different wings.
The temporary democracy of the ballot boxes ensures only the continuance
of power of the capitalist state apparatus. It ensures the delusions
of the people that they rule via ballot boxes that are open to them only
once every few years to choose who among the bourgeois elite will rule
and exploit them, without of course getting near to the state apparatus
or the sheltered capitalist corporations through the manipulation of the
What has happened in Egypt is the height of
democracy, a revolution of millions to directly topple the ruler. As
for the military displacement of Morsi, this was nothing but a foregone
conclusion, once the military institution saw that the masses had
already settled the issue in the streets and squares of Egypt. Al Sisi
did on July 3, 2013, what Tantawi did before him on February 11, 2011; he
acquiesced to the will of the rebelling populace, not out of any
patriotism or revolutionary fervour, but out of fear of the revolution.
For if al Sisi had not intervened to dislodge Morsi, the revolution
would not have stopped with the overthrow of Morsi and the Brotherhood,
but was -- and still remains -- competent to transform into a complete
social revolution which would oust the entire capitalist state,
including the leaders of the military institution.
institution is hostile to the Egyptian revolution; it got rid of Mubarak
to save itself from the crossfire of the revolution. The military is
now getting rid of the Brotherhood and Morsi, its erstwhile allies, in
fear of the time when the earthquake of the revolution will reach it.
And just as broad sections of the populace were affected by the illusion
of army neutrality and its stand with the revolution at the beginning
of SCAF rule, they are affected today by the lying propaganda about the
heroism and revolutionary allegiance of al Sisi and his generals.
just as the masses quickly left behind that propaganda in the days of
Tantawi through experience and struggle, they will pass anew through the
illusion that “the army and the people are one hand” in the weeks and
months to come.
The Egyptian masses have managed to overthrow two
presidents in 30 months. This mighty power is not reflected only in
million-strong protests, but also in the subsequent waves of labour
strikes and popular demonstrations. For political confidence will
transform into confidence in the social and economic struggle, and vice
After the first revolutionary wave, the army had wagered on
the organisational and populist capabilities of the Brotherhood to
assimilate and abort the revolution. But this gamble failed on June 30.
Now, the army is gambling on the liberal opposition for the same goal.
But the vast field between the expectations of the revolutionary
masses and what the liberal forces are offering them in terms of
economic and social policies, in the wake of a violent economic crisis,
will quickly lead to the exposure of these forces, and behind them, the
true rulers of Egypt, the military and security institutions.
the hazards that we will face in the coming weeks and months is that the
wave of repression directed at the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist
movement will be used as propaganda by the liberals and for security
purposes by the army and the police to strike at the labour movement and
popular demonstrations, on the pretext of stability during “this
critical period”. Restoring the security apparatus to confidence in
facing the Islamists will be translated without doubt into waves of
repression against strikes and sit-ins under thick cover by the
Because of this we must be consistent in opposing
all forms of abuse and repression to which the Islamists will be exposed
in the form of arrests and closures of satellite channels and
newspapers, for what happens today to the Islamists will happen tomorrow
to the workers and the leftists.
The dilemma of the Egyptian
revolution today is the political weakness of revolutionary forces
espousing the demand of continuing the revolution and at its heart the
social demands. For these forces, the ballot box will not suffice, and
they will not accept the continuance of capitalist policies of
impoverishment. They will not abandon the demand for retribution for
the blood of the revolutionary martyrs. They will continue to insist
upon the overthrow of Mubarak’s state, including its security, military,
and judiciary institutions. These institutions still control the
country and still protect the interests of the big businessmen and
Mubarak’s feloul. They remain a great swamp of corruption, plunder, and
It is incumbent upon the revolutionary forces today to
unite their ranks and put themselves forward as a convincing
revolutionary alternative for the masses. An alternative to the liberal
forces who are ascendant today on the shoulders of the military, to the
forces of political Islam which have dominated for decades over broad
swaths of the population. We must create a pulpit to unite the economic
and social struggle among the ranks of the workers and the poor, to
unite all of the oppressed sections of society. For it is these people
who have an interest in continuing the revolution, an interest in
toppling the heart of the regime and not just its representatives,
whether that be Mubarak or Morsi in the past or perhaps el Baradei in
the near future.
So we begin from this moment preparations for the
third Egyptian revolution inevitably to come, to be ready to lead this
revolution to final victory. For the masses have proven anew that their
revolutionary energy is endless, that their revolution is truly a
permanent revolution. Let us rise to the task of this historical
responsibility and let us work together for the success of the
In the wake of the immense protests on
June 30, 2013, demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi of the
Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's military stepped in on July 3 to oust Morsi, appoint
the country's top justice as interim president and announce plans for
constitutional revisions and early presidential elections.
The scenes of celebration Wednesday night [July 3] in Cairo's Tahrir Square
and other city centres were reminiscent of February 2011, when former
dictator Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power after 30 years of rule.
According to reports, the streets never really cleared from three days
before, when millions upon millions of Egyptians -- estimates range as
high as 17 million in all, roughly half the adult
population -- demonstrated in the culmination of a petition campaign,
called "Tamarod" (Rebellion), to demand Morsi's resignation.
The size of the protests and the jubilance of the crowds after his
fall show the intensity of opposition to Morsi and the Brotherhood, just
a year after Morsi won the presidential election and the Brotherhood
dominated previous votes. But once in power, they continued to pursue
the neoliberal economic agenda that has impoverished Egyptian society,
and they proved themselves as anti-democratic as the Mubarak regime.
Morsi's downfall would not have come without this popular revolt. But
it must also be recognised that Morsi's actual ouster was carried out
by the Egyptian military -- the backbone of the former Mubarak
dictatorship, though often the rival of the Brotherhood since Mubarak's
fall. Some political forces active in the movement against Morsi
celebrated the military's action, but the threat it represents must not
be underestimated. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi -- the top commander who announced
Morsi's removal -- doesn't care about democracy or economic justice or
freedom from oppression. The generals may have moved against the
Brotherhood, but their long-term goal is to safeguard the interests of
The days to come will be filled with intense political conflicts -- and
Egypt's revolutionaries will again respond with the goal of furthering
the revolution. But one cause for optimism is the confidence gained by
millions of Egyptians in the struggle against Morsi.
* * *
Egypt is making world history; in particular, world revolutionary
history. Already, it is firmly up there with the two axiomatic
revolutions of the modern world, the French and Russian revolutions.
The popular upsurge on June 30 has been described as the biggest
demonstration in the history of mankind; we would be hard pressed as
well to cite other examples of two major revolutionary upsurges in the
space of two-and-a-half years, overthrowing two regimes -- and make no
bones about it, the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt is over and done
with -- meanwhile putting somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent of the
nation's adult population on the streets in a single day.
Simply, there is no historical precedent for any of this. Let alone
that even in the grimmest of times during the past two-and-a-half years,
under the military/Muslim Brotherhood alliance, under the Muslim
Brotherhood/military alliance and under the Muslim Brotherhood's
frenzied power grab, popular resistance did not cease for a single day.
And it was thus that the first wave of the Egyptian revolution
slipped -- just like waves are known to do -- into the second.
Also, for the first time in modern political history, a popular
revolution is in the process of overthrowing an Islamist regime.
Thirty-four years in Pakistan, another 34 years in Iran, 24 years in
Sudan, a foreign invasion to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan -- and never
mind for the moment the fractured and corrupt caricature that has
produced -- a foreign invasion actually bringing Shia Islamists to power
in Iraq, which Saddam had been Islamising already via a debased marriage
of degenerate Arab nationalism and Sunni Islamism.
Against that backdrop, the overwhelming conviction everywhere was
that once in power, Islamists were there to stay -- short, that is, of
foreign invasion. Egyptians, however, did it, in 12 months.
All of which makes it doubly imperative for the revolutionary and
democratic forces in the country to be fully aware of their place in
history, and for God's sake to not let the trees blind them to the
wondrous magical forest that lies just beyond.
"There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom", said
Martin Luther King Jr. so many years ago -- his memorable words quoted by
none other than Barak Obama in his February 12 statement on the Egyptian
revolution, which a day earlier had successfully overthrown Hosni
Mubarak's obdurate 30-year rule. For the US president it was
rhetorical flourish, even as his administration, both before February
11, 2011, and since, acted consistently to help strangulate that very
"something" in Egypt's soul.
Yet for the rest of us, there are few phrases that sum up Egypt's
continuing revolution as aptly or as eloquently. For over 30 years, the
overwhelmingly predominant perspective on Arabs and Muslims was that
they were somehow a uniquely notable exception to King's words, even in
their most vulgarised, stunted sense, as neoliberal free market
economics accompanied by some form of equally stunted parliamentary
democracy, more often than not overseen by local Mafiosi billionaires
and their networks overseas.
Yet ours was not an "orange revolution" of the kind so favoured by
global capitalism; if it has any colour at all, it is the deep red of the
blood of our martyrs, no less than as a reflection of the centrality of
the social at its very heart. Egypt's revolutionary banner back in
January 2011, as it is today, proclaims: "Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity."
As predominant dogma would have it, the political, social, cultural
and economic behaviour of Arabs and Muslims could only be understood by
reference to Islam, wherein, supposedly, "freedom" has little or no
Tens of thousands of words have been written pontificating on this
theme; Mr. Huntington created his absurd little meta-theory of "the
clash of civilisations", the very thrust of which was to presumably
explain Arab/Muslim "exceptionalism"; Mr. Fukuyama grudgingly admitted
that Muslims may indeed be the globalised world's single exception to
his "end of history", constituted by neoliberal economic policy and
oligarchic liberal democracy.
On one occasion during these fatuous decades, I had to suffer through
a lecture by an intensely postmodern US scholar in which he
argued that Islamism in the Arab and Muslim worlds was the Muslims'
equivalent of the feminist and gay liberation movements in the West.
This mind-numbingly boring drivel was thankfully delivered in English,
and to an American University in Cairo (AUC) audience, who lapped it up.
Had it been delivered to real, as opposed to "fashionable", Islamists,
the young postmodern scholar would have been hard put to escape the
lecture hall bruise-free.
Needless to say, this predominant rubbish was shared and upheld as
jealously on our side of the Atlantic/Mediterranean as on theirs. The
policy ramifications were simple: Arabs and Muslims could be governed
only by "semi-secular" police states or Islamist regimes, preferably
with some form of "representative, electoral" political system (even if
the Iranian variety could be dismissed, purely arbitrarily), and even
more preferably, based on an accommodation between generals and
mullahs -- to which US ambassador in Egypt Anne Patterson seems
I've spent the best part of the last 30 years critiquing this
predominant paradigm, at a stage of our history, which I had come to
describe as the "Arabs' age of ugly choices". Today, on July 2, 2013,
having just returned from Tahrir, it is with joyous glee that I thumb my
nose at the literally thousands of pundits, academics, commentators,
politicos and postmodern fashionistas, even as I, most humbly, bow to
the indomitable spirit and love of freedom of my people: Thank you,
In Egypt the military is supreme: Not a 'second revolution' but counterrevolution
The following article first appeared in CounterPunch on July 4, 2013.
By Esam al-Amin
The Generals have done it again!
Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, was deposed one year after being
democratically elected by the Egyptian people. For those opposed to
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the move by the military is seen
as supporting a popular uprising and a belated effort to revive or
restore the Egyptian revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak more than two
years ago. But for Morsi’s supporters or those who simply had any
respect for democratic governance and the rule of law, the action by the
army is nothing short of a brazen though soft military coup d’état.
Which one is it? Here are the facts.
The military in Egypt has always enjoyed a privileged and autonomous
status and is tacitly considered the power behind the throne. For
decades, political power was concentrated in the hands of an elite yet
mostly corrupt political and business class that monopolised power and
looted the country’s resources. But the revolution that toppled Mubarak
was in essence a rejection not just against the dictator, but also his
entire corrupt regime. One of the major demands of the revolution was to
get rid of dictatorship and repression and uphold the principles of
democracy and the rule of law.
Over the next two years, the political process that followed
Mubarak’s overthrow allowed for the will of the Egyptian people to be
expressed numerous times through free and fair elections and referenda.
The people in Egypt went to the polls at least six times: to vote for a
referendum to chart the political way forward (March 2011), to vote for
the lower and upper house of parliament (November 2011-January 2012), to
elect a civilian president over two rounds (May-June 2012) and to
ratify the new constitution (December 2012). Each time the electorate
voted for the choice of the Islamist parties to the frustration of the
secular and liberal opposition.
To the discontent of the Islamists, all their gains at the polls were
reversed by either the Mubarak-appointed Supreme Constitutional Court
(SCC) or the military. The lower house of parliament, of which the
Islamists won seventy three per cent of the seats, was dissolved by the
SCC a year ago, while the military has just suspended the new
constitution, while ousting the democratically elected president.
Undoubtedly, the MB committed colossal mistakes. For example, it
reneged on several promises to its secular and liberal coalition
partners, including to not contest the majority of parliamentary seats,
field a presidential candidate or exclude others in the composition of
the Constitution Constituent Assembly. Perhaps, its gravest mistake
was to ally itself closely with the Salafist groups during the
process of writing the constitution, thus alienating many of the
secularists, liberals, as well as Christians even though the MB did not
care much about the constitutional ideological battle. Its motivation
was not to be outflanked by the Salafis on the Islamic identity of the
state. To accomplish this objective, the MB lost most of the others.
In addition, Morsi and the MB did not adhere to their promise of full
partnership in governance. Many of the youth and opposition groups felt
that the president and MB leadership were not genuine in their outreach
and only sought their participation for cosmetic reasons. Even their
Islamic partners such as the Salafist Al-Noor Party complained that the
MB wanted to monopolise the major power centers in the state. It did not
matter that the MB did not control the military, the intelligence, the
security apparatus, the police, the diplomatic corps, the banking
system, or even the bureaucracy. But because of the MB’s lack of
transparency and openness, the perception was that it was trying to
control the major centres of power in the state and exclude other
parties based on ideology while the reality was that such control was
non-existent or superficial.
But to the average people on the street what mattered was their
security and livelihood. During his one year in power, Morsi faced
enormous challenges: deterioration in security and basic services, lack
of social justice, and economic decline. It appeared to many as
deliberate attempts by the deep state (entrenched elements and
bureaucrats loyal to the former regime) to ensure the failure of his
presidency. His lack of transparency and openness to his people in favour
of presenting an optimistic or upbeat outlook added to public cynicism
and the perception of incompetence.
Another major mistake by the MB was
its failure to separate its socio-religious movement from its political
manifestation, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). While the public in
past times respected the MB for its social services and religious
outreach, engaging in politics by its nature is a source of division and
rancor. For example when the MB fielded its presidential candidate in
March 2012, it was MB’s Guidance Bureau that made the declaration
instead of the FJP. In the eyes of the public there was little
distinction between the MB and the FJP. So the MB was, correctly or not,
held responsible for any political missteps by the FJP.
In part because the 2011 revolutionary partners were sharply divided
on ideological grounds, former regime loyalists, politicians and
corrupt businesspeople were able to regroup and play an increasing role in
the political battles that engulfed the country. Mubarak’s National
Democratic Party (NDP), which dominated
political life for decades, was the only party in the country capable
of organising nationwide and competing with the MB. But since the public
rejected the NDP (and it was banned shortly after Mubarak was deposed),
it did not participate in the parliamentary elections in the fall of
2011. However, by June 2012, Ahmad Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister,
represented the NDP’s interests. As one of the two remaining candidates
in the second round of the presidential elections, he ultimately lost
by less than two per cent.
Morsi took over power by June 30, 2012. When he was not as inclusive
as promised in his senior appointments, the opposition almost
immediately turned against him. Two months after he was sworn in, they
called for a massive protest on August 24, calling it “the protest to
oust the rule of the Brotherhood”. Their hostility and acrimony
increased as the writing of the new constitution was finalised.
Meanwhile, the new political openness and freedom in the country allowed
for the private media, owned and controlled by many of the former
regime’s loyalists and supporters, to target Morsi and the MB in an
orchestrated campaign to alienate and inflame the public.
By the time the president issued his ill-advised and ill-fated
constitutional decree, the opposition was not only united against Morsi
and the MB but also determined to dislodge them from power. Morsi argued
that his move was necessary to protect the nascent democratic political
structures that the courts were dissolving one by one. He eventually
reversed course and annulled his decree, even though the opposition
rejected all his appeals for political dialogue. However, his objective
of having a new constitution, which the opposition vehemently rejected,
and replacing the Mubarak-appointed public prosecutor, a demand that the
youth and revolutionary groups had called for, were already fulfilled.
This single act proved to be a rallying point for all the opposition and
the remnants of the former regime (fulool), which united under the
National Salvation Front (NSF) in order to confront and defeat Morsi and
the MB. They campaigned vigorously to defeat the constitution, which to
their dismay, was passed by 64 per cent.
Meanwhile, the MB and its Islamist allies aimed at targeting the
corrupt elements in the judiciary, which represented not only a major
obstacle in delaying or dissolving the new democratic components of the
state, but also it reversed the convictions and released all the corrupt
elements of the Mubarak regime. Although this was also a revolutionary
demand, the opposition, which so far had not fared well at the ballot
box, aligned itself with the judiciary and accused the Islamists of
attacking an independent branch of government that had reservations, if
not outright discontent, about the revolution.
By the spring of 2013, the MB and its supporters were preparing for
new parliamentary elections, which they had expected to win. Their
strategy was that if they won the parliamentary elections and forced
judiciary reform, they would be able to control or influence all
branches of government and easily confront the deep state and institute
their program. Sensing the danger of this scenario, NSF coordinator Dr.
Mohammad ElBaradei met with Shafiq in the United Arab Emirates in March.
In an interview last week, Shafiq disclosed that he and ElBaradei had
agreed on an elaborate plan to depose Morsi and the MB. He also
predicted that Morsi and MB officials would be arrested and tried.
Furthermore, Shafiq complained that ElBaradei and the opposition did not
fulfill their part of the bargain, which was to promote and support
Shafiq and help make him the next president, and that they instead began
to distance themselves from him.
Throughout the political power struggle, the youth movements, which
spearheaded the 2011 revolution against the Mubarak regime, were
marginalised while their grievances were not addressed. Morsi and the MB
gave only lip service to their demands and needs. But during his
address to the nation last week, Morsi belatedly acknowledged this
neglect as he promised to address it. By late April, the youth groups
had already come together to form a new movement called Tamarrud or
Rebellion. The central theme in their program was to call for early
presidential elections by gathering 15 million signatures, a million
more than Morsi had received during his presidential run.
During the process, the secular opposition and the fulool embraced
Tamarrud’s message, while the latter used the offices of the NSF and
held several press conferences at the headquarters of well-known media
outlets of Mubarak loyalists. There is also anecdotal evidence that the
group received financial support from fulool groups. Meanwhile, the
private media started a well-orchestrated campaign and continuous
onslaught on the MB in particular and the Islamists in general. The
level of hostility and hatred spewed against them was reminiscent of the
1930s Nazi propaganda against the Jews. Dozens of incidents were
reported in the past two months, in which supporters of the MB were
attacked verbally and physically by strangers because of their purported
Though the campaign against the MB was in full swing, the president
and the group did not take it seriously and did not attempt to offer a
compromise to the opposition or genuinely address their concerns. They
miscalculated badly as they thought that the popular support of
Tamarrud’s initiative was thin. In short, the MB was facing a perfect
storm. Whether in reality or perception, the MB has alienated its former
liberal and secular partners, the youth groups, the judiciary, the
media, the general public because of lack of services and rising prices.
The fulool and their allies within the deep state took advantage of this
public discontent. Many former security officials and wealthy
businessmen tied to the former regime were seen organising and
mobilising for the June 30 protest, the day Tamarrud
designated to force Morsi’s ouster.
By July 2, the Appellate Court
invalidated the appointment of the general prosecutor appointed by Morsi
and returned the Mubarak-appointed corrupt prosecutor, who was
dismissed last November. Furthermore, in order to further muddy the
political scene, the courts also ordered that Morsi’s prime minister,
Dr. Hisham Qandil, be arrested and sentenced to one year in prison for
not implementing an earlier court order given to a Mubarak-era prime
However, on June 30 impressive numbers of Egyptians protested
against the MB and the president in Tahrir Square and across Egypt. It
was reminiscent of the early days of the 2011 protests against Mubarak.
Although the protesters did not include Islamist groups, they were
diverse. Many youth groups were represented, voicing their frustration
of being marginalised and their demands neglected. Many were ordinary
citizens alienated because of economic hardship and the lack of basic
services. Many were secularists who hated Islamists and wanted to
overthrow them by revolutionary means since they could not defeat them
at the ballot box. Many were Christians who feared the Islamists and
were tacitly encouraged by the Coptic Church to participate.
But it was
also clear than many were fulool and Mubarak regime loyalists as the
picture of the former dictator was prominently raised and hailed in
Tahrir Square amid chants in his support. Many were also former and
current security officials who showed up in their uniforms. Even two
former interior ministers who served during the military transitional
rule and former regime were leading the protests as revolutionaries,
even though they were charged by the youth groups at the time with
murdering their revolutionary friends and comrades.
Many protesters were
also thugs hired by NDP politicians and corrupt businesspeople. In
fact, over the three days protest, these thugs raped over 100 women in
Tahrir Square including female journalists, according to public
officials. Meanwhile, in an orchestrated manner, dozens of buildings
that belonged to the MB and the FJP including their headquarters were
burned down, torched or ransacked. More than a dozen members were
killed, while hundreds were wounded. Within hours, five cabinet
ministers resigned and dozens of senior officials including presidential
spokespersons and dozens of diplomats submitted their resignations in
an attempt to collapse the state.
Meanwhile, pro-Morsi supporters were also gathering in a different
square in Cairo in large numbers. After the MB and its allies saw the
massive demonstrations of their opponents on June 30 they called for
massive mobilisation the following day, holding more than 20 huge
protests across the country that also numbered in the millions. With few
exceptions, the secular and liberal media ignored these protests.
On the afternoon of June 30, defence minister and military chief General
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who was appointed by Morsi last August, issued an
ultimatum to the president and the opposition to reach a compromise
within 48 hours or else the military would intervene. In reality, it was
an ultimatum to the president to resign since the opposition had in the
past rejected all attempts at dialogue or compromise. On July 1, the
frustrated president addressed the nation and adamantly rejected the
military’s ultimatum, as he called on his people to support his
legitimacy as a democratically elected president. Immediately after the
speech, the president’s supporters, who were holding a huge rally in
Giza, were attacked by thugs and snipers. Sixteen people were killed and
By July 2, it was evident that the army has decided to overthrow
Morsi and side with the opposition. As the military reached out to
foreign governments, it was clear that many Western governments,
especially the US, had difficulty accepting the military overthrow of
an elected president. Secretary of defence Chuck Hagel and the chair
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey called their
Egyptian counterparts, advising that they should instead either
encourage Morsi to resign or keep him as a figurehead.
However, as they officially announced that Morsi was removed from
power, the generals surrounded themselves with several civilian and
religious leaders, including the head of Al-Azhar, the Coptic Pope,
ElBaradei as NSF spokesperson, and representatives of Tamarrud and the
Salafist Al-Noor Party. It was a brazen attempt to make it seem as if
the overthrow of Morsi had broad consensus by civilian and religious
In essence, Sisi embraced all the demands of the opposition and the
fulool. Not only did he depose Morsi and replace him with the head of
the SCC, but he also suspended the constitution and dismissed the
government. He unilaterally also gave the powers to issue constitutional
decrees and legislative authority to the newly installed president.
Within minutes, huge celebrations with full display of festivities and
fireworks were taking place in Tahrir Square and in many cities across
Egypt. Meanwhile, Morsi’s supporters across Egypt were stunned and angry
at the turn of events. They had mistakenly held hope that the army
would force some sort of a compromise that would not circumvent the will
of the Egyptian people who elected a president and passed a new
constitution with a large margin only few months ago.
Immediately after Sisi’s announcement, the new regime began its
crackdown on the media that supported the deposed president. Four TV
satellite channels that belonged to the MB or the Islamists, as well as
two Al-Jazeera channels, were suspended and taken off the air. The
pro-Morsi protests across Egypt were also surrounded by the military. TV
cameras were removed and the electricity was cut in anticipation of
forcefully evacuating the protesters, as food and water were denied.
Meanwhile, MB leaders Mohammad El-Beltagi and Esam El-Erian, who
played pivotal roles during the 2011 revolution, called Morsi’s ouster
by the military an illegal coup d’état and vowed to oppose it, as they
called on their supporters to resist it with all peaceful means even if
they lose their lives. Morsi also released an eleven-minute video on the
Internet rejecting his overthrow and defying the military’s act,
insisting on his constitutional legitimacy as the duly elected president
of the country.
Meanwhile, a crackdown against the MB leaders and their supporters
was in full force, strongly suggesting premeditation. Within two hours
of Sisi’s announcement, Morsi and some of his senior assistants were
detained and transferred to the defence ministry. Former speaker and FJP chair, Dr. Saad Katatni, MB leader and general guide Dr Muhammad
Badie, as well as his deputies Khayrat El-Shater and Rashad Bayyoumi
were also arrested. Former presidential candidate and Islamist Hazem
Salah Abu Ismail and preacher Safwat Hegazi were arrested and charged
with "insulting the military".
Al-Ahram newspaper also reported that
over 300 arrest warrants were issued against the MB and their
supporters, as dozens were rounded up while all MB and FJP properties,
assets and buildings were being seized and their bank accounts frozen.
Moreover, within minutes of the announcement, King Abdullah of Saudi
Arabia and Muhammd Bin Zayed of the UAE, the two countries most openly
hostile to the MB’s rule, issued statements praising and congratulating
the military. Ironically, Bashar Al-Assad of Syria expressed his relief
and joy at the ouster of "the Islamist regime" that was threatening his
Meanwhile, the secular and liberal opposition and many youth groups
and their supporters argued that their protests followed by the ouster
of Morsi by the military was analogous to the overthrow of Mubarak. But
this argument conveniently ignores the fact that Mubarak was not a
legitimate president or elected by the will of the Egyptian people while
Morsi, whether one supports or opposes him, loves or hates him, was
duly elected in free, fair, and contested elections that the entire
world observed and accepted.
Furthermore, Mubarak killed hundreds of
youth in order to stay in power, while dozens of youth were killed in
the streets defending the legitimacy of Morsi’s presidency. In addition,
most of the people and groups who oppose Morsi today after one year in
power, never lifted a finger during Mubarak’s 30-year reign. Mubarak’s
security apparatus used thugs to terrorise his opponents and oversee
fraudulent elections, while the same thugs today attack and terrorise
unarmed supporters of Morsi.
While official and government media outlets
and corrupt businesspeople and judges supported Mubarak for decades,
the same government-supported media, businesspeople and judges attacked
Morsi from his first day in office.
Liberals, democrats and human rights activists have been preaching
to Islamists for decades that democracy is the only legitimate system
for peaceful political participation and transition of power. In 1992,
when the Algerian military intervened and canceled elections after the
Islamic Salvation front (FIS) won it, the West, led by the USA and
France, looked the other way. Meanwhile, Algeria was engulfed in civil
strife for over a decade, a conflict that resulted in more than 200,000 deaths.
Two decades later, whether or not one agrees with its
political program, favours or despises the MB, there is no doubt that the
group played by the rules of democracy and embraced the rule of law. It
did not employ or advocate the use of violence. Yet, it is the height
of irony that the ones who called for, encouraged and cheered the
military intervention to oust a democratically elected president are the
secular, liberal and leftist parties and individuals such as
ElBaradei, Amr Mousa, Naguib Sawiris, Ayman Noor and Hamdein Sabbahi,
as well as human and civil rights activists who frequently advocate for
free media and freedom of political association.
The international community looked the other way when the will of the
Algerian and Palestinian people were thwarted when they elected
Islamists in 1992 and 2006. This is the third time in two decades
Islamists are dislodged from power. It remains to be seen if the West
will take a strong stand against the military’s latest attempt to
prevent Islamists from holding power. It may indeed define the
relationship between Islamist groups and Western governments for the
The message such stand would send to people around
the world will be profound. Either the West stands for democratic
principles and the rule of law or it does not. When President Obama
called Morsi on June 30, he admonished him that “democracy is about more
than elections”. But what is equally essential to recognise is that
there is no democracy without respecting and protecting the legitimacy
of its results regardless of its outcome.
[Esam Al-Amin is the author of The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East.]
Statement from the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt
July 6, 2013 -- During
days that rocked the world, millions of Egyptians poured into the
streets and forced their institutions to remove the failed president.
Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood had betrayed the principles of
the 25 January 2011 revolution and overthrown its goals.
stubbornness, stupidity and criminality of the US-backed Muslim
Brotherhood and Mohamed Badie, its General Guide, open the terrifying
horizons of civil war. This can only be stopped by millions coming into
the squares and streets to protect their revolution. They must abort the
US-Brotherhood plan to portray the Egyptian Revolution as a military
The popular uprising of 30 June threw the Muslim
Brotherhood out of power, and its plan is now clear. The Brotherhood is
seeking to take over the squares in order to project an image of false
popularity for the president who was removed by the uprising. It may
even be aiming to negotiate his return to power with the support of the
US and other imperialist powers in order to accomplish what Mursi
promised to do for them in Syria and the region.
squares to Mursi and his supporters today is the biggest danger that
faces the revolution. The return of the Brotherhood to power will mean
the defeat of the greatest uprising of the masses, setting the
revolution back and destroying the hopes that launched it.
masses who made the revolution in January 2011, and sought to complete
it in June 2013, are the only ones who can save it from danger.
people who called on the military to protect them on 30 June and
subsequently, can defend themselves, without waiting for a hesitating
army or police. The valour of the people of Boulaq Abu Al-Ala and
Maniyal and Sayyida Zeinab and Sidi Gaber and elsewhere last night in
the face of the attacks of the Brotherhood, is our best example.
revolution is continuing, but it still needs time and to organise
itself. This requires the reformation of popular committees to defend
our revolution in every street, neighbourhood and factory. We are
multitudes, but we lack organisation in our ranks.
Whoever is the next prime minister must be from among the ranks of the January Revolution.
We demand that the priorities of the coming government must be:
steps to achieve social justice for the benefit of millions of poor and
These are the people who paid the greatest share of the
price for Mursi's failure to implement the goals of the revolution—and
that of the Military Council before him.
Election of a Constituent
Assembly, representing all sections of the people—workers, peasants and
the poor, Coptic Christians and women—to write a civil, democratic
constitution which entrenches the values of freedom and social justice.
drafting of a law of transitional justice which holds to account the
Brotherhood for the blood it has spilled, as well as the Military
Council and the symbols of the Mubarak regime, and achieves retribution
for the martyrs and injured of the revolution.
We will not leave the
streets and squares to the merchants of religion, the friends of the US.
We will not wait for the army to protect us; we will defend our
revolution with our own hands.
Glory to the martyrs! Victory to the Revolution! Shame on the murderers!
All power and wealth to the people.
Interview with Comrade Salah Adli, general secretary of the Egyptian Communist PartyBy Nameh Mardom, central organ of the Central Committee of the Tudeh (Communist) Party of Iran
July 6, 2013 -- Solinet
-- Q1 – In the recent statements of the CP Egypt (July 3)
you referred the fact that the mass protest movement comprises of
various classes and strata. How were the classes and strata of the
Egyptian society mobilized in the second wave of the 30th June Revolution? Salah Adly: Since the outbreak of the revolution of 25th
January 2011, the protest movements have not subsided, and
demonstrations of millions of people have not stopped, i.e. the
revolutionary state of the masses has always been there, subsiding at
times and flaring up some other times. The workers’ protests and strikes
also escalated. After the success of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood
came to power, the masses discovered their authoritarian nature, fascist
character, their bias to the interests of more reactionary and
parasitic sections of capitalism, and their inability to run a state of
the size of Egypt. Furthermore, their betrayal of the interests of the
homeland and their willingness to act as the biggest broker to maintain
the interests of America and Israel in the region were exposed. They
concluded the truce in Gaza and gave America and Israel what even
Mubarak’s client regime had not given. Their sectarian and obscurantist
project, which is hostile to democracy, science, culture and tolerance,
became very evident. More importantly, the masses discovered the
falsehood of their use of religious slogans to disguise their plans in
the service of the Greater Middle East project and “creative chaos”.
the number of social protests (strikes, sit-ins, demonstrations and
protest pickets) reached 7400 - by Mohamed Morsi's own admission -
during last year. The unemployment rate reached 32%, with most of the
unemployed being holders of high and middle qualifications. The foreign
debts rose from $34 billion to $45 billion. The domestic debt rose by
365 billion Egyptian pounds during the reign of Morsi last year. The
proportion of people living below the poverty line increased to more
than 50% of the population. In short, most classes and strata of society
- and its liberal, nationalist and leftist political forces, as well as
youth movements, mostly leftist and nationalist oriented, in addition
to the main state institutions, especially the army, judiciary, media
and police – felt there is a grave danger as a result of the Muslim
Brotherhood remaining in power because of their fervent quest to
monopolize power and exclude anyone who is not with them, other than
their allies among terrorist groups that use religion as a cover.
broad sections of the middle and big Egyptian bourgeoisie in the
sectors of tourism, industry, trade, agriculture and construction felt
very scared for their interests as a result of the continued rule of the
Muslim Brotherhood which was creating an atmosphere of chaos,
insecurity and instability.
“Tamarud” (Rebellion) Movement succeeded in collecting more than 22
million signatures for the withdrawal of confidence in Morsi and in
support of calling for early presidential elections. All parties, trade
unions and organizations participated in collecting signatures, and the
campaign spread in the streets of cities, in factories, schools and
universities, and in villages in all the governorates of Egypt. The
great importance of this campaign is that it was able to involve
Egyptian citizens actively in the revolutionary movement to overthrow
the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also restored the peaceful and
democratic character of revolutionary action, and formed the basis for
removing the sacred cover of the false legitimacy of the ballot box as
the sole criterion for legitimacy and the democratic system. The call
for the collection of signatures was accompanied by calling for
demonstrations in all the main squares of Egypt on 30th June
as a principal test of the credibility of this campaign and the
fundamental basis for the revolutionary legitimacy of the masses to
overthrow this fascist regime and foil the project of the religious
response of the masses of the Egyptian people was great, and the
biggest demonstrations in the history of Egypt, and even in the history
of the world, came out. This has been verified by the "Google Earth"
index. More than 27 million demonstrators came out at the same time in
all the governorates of Egypt, representing various classes and strata
of the Egyptian society, in the face of protests that did not exceed 200
thousand demonstrators from the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies in
one small square in Cairo. Thus, the Egyptian people were on one side
and the Muslim Brotherhood were with their allies on the other,
isolated, side. This is the reality of the scene. This is the reality
upon which any evaluation of the situation or any political scientific
analysis should be based.
We believe that what happened on 30th
June is a second wave of the Egyptian revolution that is stronger and
deeper than the first wave in 2011. It has taken place to correct the
path of the revolution and seize it back from the forces of the extreme
religious right that had conspired to steal the revolution and ride its
wave to serve their fascist and reactionary objectives and the schemes
of world imperialism.
Q2 - What is the level of the participation of the toiling classes and workers in these protests? Why the workers participate in the battle with political Islam for democratic rights?
The basic slogans of the January revolution were: bread - freedom -
social justice - human dignity. It is an essential link of the national
democratic revolution, and came after a long historical stage that had
begun in the mid-seventies of the last century, with the rule of
dependent big capitalism and a full cycle of regression, backwardness
and tyranny. During that period, the reactionary forces, in alliance
with world imperialism and Arab reaction, managed to strengthen a
climate that allowed the current of political Islam - especially the
Muslim Brotherhood - to spread and ascend. The forces of the left were
weakened, workers were displaced and big industries were liquidated in
order to deal a blow to any possibilities for achieving comprehensive
fact, the workers have been involved in most of the protests that have
escalated since 2006 and are participating in all the popular
demonstrations as part of the people and not in a class organized
manner. This is due to the absence of strong trade union organizations
and federations because of a long legacy of a tyranny and government
repression to control the federations and trade unions. It is also due
to the big changes to the class map and to the nature of the composition
of the working class in various sectors that took place during the past
period. Small and medium-sized industries controlled by private sector
were relied upon, where workers were prevented from forming trade
unions. The working class did not emerge in a clear class manner in the
revolution. As a result of the lack of effective unity among the forces
of the left and its weakness during the previous stage for many reasons,
which there is no room here to mention, the labor movement did not
appear in an effective and influential manner commensurate with the size
of its participation and big sacrifices in the revolution.
is important to clarify that the workers in the public sector have
discovered that the practices and attitudes of the Muslim Brotherhood do
not differ from the orientations of the Mubarak regime, rather they
were worse. The Muslim Brotherhood implemented the same policies on the
continuation of the privatization program and the liberalization of
prices, and did not raise the minimum wage even though it was one of the
first demands of the revolution. They even reduced the taxes on
businessmen, continued the privatization of services and refused to
implement the health insurance program. They insisted on selling and
mortgaging the assets of Egypt and its institutions through the project
of "Islamic bonds" which they rushed to pass in the Shura Council [the
upper house of parliament] controlled by Muslim Brotherhood. The most
dangerous position was their refusal to pass the law to ensure freedom
to form unions, which they had agreed upon with all political forces and
trade union currents before the revolution, and replaced Mubarak’s men
in the government-controlled General Union of Egyptian Workers with
their own men. This is the social and democratic basis for the bias of
the working class in favor of the revolution against the rule of the
Muslim Brotherhood and the forces of political Islam, in addition to the
other reasons that we have mentioned earlier.
who imagines that workers only revolt for factional issues or for
economic reasons is mistaken. Workers are more aware of the dangers of
the extremist religious right-wing project and their right-wing and
fascist practices in all democratic, political, economic, social, and
Q3- In your statements, the CP Egypt characterises the current developments as a revolution .. What are the nature, tasks and urgent demands of the revolution?
Yes, what is happening now is a revolution. To be precise, it is the
second big wave of the January 2011 Revolution, as its first wave was
aborted because it was robbed by the Muslim Brotherhood despite the fact
that they did not participate in calling for it or making it. It is a
democratic revolution with a clear social and patriotic orientation. It
is continuing, and broad social strata and various political forces
(liberal, nationalist and leftist) have participated in it. With the
continuation of the revolutionary tide, the truth about the various
positions has become clearer, and the biases of these forces and their
willingness to continue along the path of the revolution are revealed.
first democratic tasks of the revolution is promulgating a new civil
democratic constitution that stresses human rights, women's rights and
economic and social rights for the toiling classes, and one which does
not negate the people's right to choose its political and economic
system in the future according to the balance of forces. Thus, the task
of overthrowing the sectarian, reactionary and distorted Constitution,
rather than amending it, is a fundamental task for the democratic and
progressive forces in the present moment.
of the tasks of the democratic revolution is also the freedom to form
trade unions, political parties and associations without government
interference, rejecting the formation of political parties on a
religious and sectarian basis, full equality between men and women in
terms of rights and duties, equality before the law and the
criminalization of religious and other forms of discrimination.
Among the social tasks
is formulating an independent comprehensive social development plan
that is based on encouraging the productive sectors with the need for
equitable distribution of the development product and wealth for the
benefit of the poor and toilers and achieving urgent social demands. A
top priority among these demands is specifying a minimum and maximum
wage and linking it to prices, cancelling debts for small peasants,
redistributing the budget items to increase spending on health and
education, providing housing for low-income people, raising taxes on the
rich, regaining possession of the corporations that were looted from
the public sector and fighting against corruption.
The national tasks
are: opposing dependency on the United States, refusing to succumb to
Zionist hegemony, amending the Camp David agreement, restoring Egypt's
national role in the on Arab, African, regional and international
levels, and deepening the relationship with the countries and peoples of
the Third World.
Q4 – Do
the current developments in Egypt mean rejection of the
'political Islam' or only rejection of "Moslem Brotherhood" by the
The Muslim Brotherhood are the most effective and influential
organization among the forces of political Islam. All the other
organizations, including Salafi and Jihadist groups, were allies with
the Muslim Brotherhood and came out with them in their last battle
defending their regime because they know that their defeat would mean a
major defeat for the sectarian Islamist project which is supported by
the U.S. administration as an alternative to the collapsing
authoritarian regimes. Only the Salafi al-Nour Party was excluded from
the alliance in the last battle due to considerations related to its
association with Saudi Arabia, although we are aware that it is a
reactionary and sectarian party that is hostile to human rights and the
rights of women and minorities, including other Islamic sects. This was
evident in their inciting in the crime of murdering Shiites and dragging
their bodies in the horrific massacre that took place in a village last
believe that the battle is not over and there needs to be a political,
social and cultural struggle to crush their resistance and change the
general climate which has been rife for decades.
what we would like to draw attention to is that what is happening in
Egypt now is not only a confrontation of the Muslim Brotherhood, and
their allies among the forces of the religious right, with the security
institutions of the state. They are in fact confronting the Egyptian
people of all sects and currents as well as all state institutions,
including the judiciary, media and culture. In neighborhoods and
villages, the Muslim Brotherhood will be now confronting the masses of
the Egyptian people, as they have certainly lost the support of large
segments of the people during the last two years. But the army and
security forces will have an important role in confronting their armed
short, we see that what has happened is a big defeat for the project of
the religious right in general, and not only for the project of the
Muslim Brotherhood. It will have major implications in the region in the
is your view about the arguments which say Morsi’s removal is
undemocratic because he was elected through a legally and the new
Constitution was ratified through a referendum. Was Morsi overthrown by the Egyptian army?
Those who have ousted Morsi are more than 22 million citizens of the
Egyptian people who signed a document containing the signatory’s name,
ID number (national ID) and the name of the province, written by hand
rather than on the Internet, in an unprecedented referendum that was
culminated in the “big coming out" in main squares by more than 27
million demonstrators on 30th June 30, continuing for four
consecutive days. It was Morsi who overthrew legitimacy when he issued
his dictatorial constitutional declaration in November 2011. It was
Morsi who devastated human rights when his terrorist supporters besieged
the Constitutional Court, when his militia tortured protesters in front
of al-Ittihadyah Palace [the presidential palace]as shown by
investigations carried out by the public prosecutor office, and when his
men killed demonstrators in front of the headquarters of the Freedom
and Justice Party (the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood) in
accordance with explicit orders from the leader of the group and his
deputy, as the killers confessed before the public prosecutor. It was
Morsi who reneged on the promises he had announced on the day he
succeeded to amend the Constitution and form a coalition government. He
and his group insisted on submitting to the conditions of the
International Monetary Fund, and also declared Jihad on Syria at a
conference of terrorist jihadist forces without referring to the army
and the National Defense Council.
all the political parties and forces, and even the Salafi al-Nour
Party, which jumped from the ship before it sank, have supported early
presidential elections. This call is not a coup against democracy,
rather it emanates from the heart of popular democracy when any
president betrays his promises to the people and his program on the
basis of which the people had elected him.
limit the cause of democracy to just the "ballot box" is a complete
plunder of the essence of democracy and an explicit rejection of the
right of peoples to revolt against their autocratic rulers and the
fascist regimes that use religion to hide their reactionary nature and
right-wing capitalist orientation.
defending of Morsi by the United States and Western capitalist states
and portraying the issue as just a "military coup" against
"constitutional legitimacy" is a formal position that hides the fact
that world imperialism is terrified by peoples’ revolutions and their
ability to transcend the narrow confines of the democratic bourgeoisie
which represents, in essence, the optimal form to fulfill the interests
of big businessmen and monopolies and their local agents in controlling
the destiny of peoples in Third World countries.
has happened is not a military coup in any way, but a revolutionary
coup by the Egyptian people to get rid of this fascist rule. What the
army did is carrying out the will of the people and protecting them from
the plots of the Muslim Brotherhood and their armed terrorist allies
who want to ignite sectarian strife and civil wars, divide the Egyptian
army and destroy the institutions of the Egyptian state to serve the
interests of imperialism and Zionism in the region.
kind of military coup is it when tens of millions of people are in the
streets?!! What kind of military coup is it when the head of the
Constitutional Court has already assumed power, which is what had been
demanded by the Salvation Front, that includes all the opposition forces
with their various orientations and the “Tamarud” (Rebellion) youth
movement, and has been endorsed by the masses of the Egyptian
people??!! What kind of military coup is it when a government made up of
civil national qualified people will be formed and has full powers
during a transitional period not exceeding one year and ending with the
promulgation of a democratic civil constitution and presidential and
parliamentary elections which everyone is keen to have?? What kind of
military coup is it that allows the right to peaceful protests even by
its opponents and does not impose a state of emergency? The statement by
Al-Sisi, the Egyptian army chief, in which he declared the road map for
the transitional stage, was only announced after a dialogue and
consensus with the representatives of the Egyptian people, including the
youth of the “Tamarud” (Rebellion) movement, the representative of the
Salvation Front, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the Coptic Pope and a
representative of women. The Egyptian people have celebrated in main
squares, neighborhoods and villages this great victory for the Egyptian
people and the national army’s compliance with it.
should, as taught by Marxism, proceed from the concrete reality and not
confine our vision to predetermined rigid ideas and ready formulas.
Isn’t it noteworthy that the Western media turn a blind eye to all this,
refuse to see the reality and insist that what is happening is a
we are keen for the need to be alert and pay attention during the next
phase to ensure that the military's role in this stage is limited to the
protection of the people and the Egyptian national security and to
abide by its promises not to interfere directly in political affairs,
and the need for the people to remain in the squares to ensure the
implementation of their demands in the transitional phase.
Q6 – What is your assessment of the USA’s position TOWARDS THE DEVELOPMENTS IN Egypt?
The U.S. was taken by surprise by the revolution of January 2011, but
it had been preparing for scenarios of change in Egypt before that when
it felt that the Mubarak regime had become aged. So it intervened
immediately after he was overthrown to form an alliance between the
former Military Council and the Muslim Brotherhood to pave the way for
handing over power to Muslim Brotherhood after they pledged to ensure
fulfilling the interests of the United States, ensuring the security of
Israel and continuing the neoliberal economic policy which is against
the interests of the popular masses.
the United States discovered after a while the extent of the inability
of the Muslim Brotherhood to run the affairs of governance, their lack
of qualified people and their insistence on alliance with the jihadi
groups instead of an alliance with the liberal forces and uniting the
big capitalists’ class with its various strata in a stable system that
is based on a transfer of power that revolves in the orbit of this class
and ensuring America's interests. The U.S. was at the same time also
keen to ensure the interests and privileges of the military institution
in order to guarantee its loyalty.
the United States was at the same time afraid of the continuation of
the revolutionary situation in Egypt, the mounting scale of the protests
and the escalation of popular rejection of the rule of the Muslim
Brotherhood. Therefore, it exerted pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood to
carry out reforms, and also exerted pressure on the forces of the
liberal opposition, especially those representing the interests of big
capital in Wafd Party, Free Egyptians Party and the Constitution Party
to speed up parliamentary elections, end their alliance with the forces
of the left and reject the revolutionary orientations of the youth
movements which believe that the objectives of the revolution and the
uprooting of the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime can only be achieved with a
big popular revolution against it and boycotting the elections.
the “Tamarud” (Rebellion) and its genius idea to withdraw legitimacy
from Morsi were successful, it put everyone in a dilemma when broad
sections of the people and the political forces responded to it. This
put an end to the wavering of all the parties and forces, and they
rallied behind the popular option to overthrow Morsi and conduct early
presidential elections. This demand escalated to calling for the
overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime, changing the Constitution
and correcting the course of the revolution through a new revolutionary
legitimacy and a new transitional phase on a proper basis.
Muslim Brotherhood, the Americans, the army, and even the forces of
political opposition and youth, did not imagine that the people's
response will be of this mighty size which forced everyone to implement
the people’s will.
know that the United States exerted pressure in a flagrant manner on
the leaders of the army and the liberal political forces not to
overthrow Morsi and only carry out big reforms. But it was too late and
everyone realized that the people have spoken and that the alternative
would be the escalation of civil war, the escalation of terrorism and
sectarian strife, and opening the door to foreign intervention.
arrival at this critical point led to the overthrow of Morsi and the
intervention of the army in a manner that serves the objectives of the
revolution at this stage. It is noteworthy that this is the first time
that the Egyptian army has disobeyed America’s orders because it has
realized the nature of the big dangers that would plague itself and the
homeland if it declines to support the revolution.
national and democratic forces realize that the army’s leaders have
interests and privileges which they want to preserve, and they also want
to have a role in power without a direct political interference. We
believe that this has to be taken into account at this stage with
emphasis on correcting things gradually during the next phase.
expect that the United States, in the current critical period, will
encourage plots to ignite sedition and strife and to encourage these
groups to stir up chaos to achieve the schemes of “creative chaos”
schemes and turn Egypt into another Iraq. This is what happened and was
revealed in the plot on Friday 5thJuly. This plot has been
called by the youth "the Tripartite, U.S. - Israeli - Muslim
Brotherhood, Aggression" on the people of Egypt. The plan was aimed at
aborting the revolution, reinstating Morsi, spreading chaos and terror
through demonstrations that would occupy the Liberation squares by
employing weapons and terrorism, launching a campaign of rumors and a
war of disinformation that was unprecedented in Egypt in order to
create divisions between the people and the army and within the military
itself, and conspiring with jihadist groups in Sinai to declare it a
liberated area in collusion with Israel and the Islamic groups in Gaza.
lived through critical hours after the speech of terrorism and
intimidation delivered by the leader of the fascist group, the Muslim
Brotherhood, to his supporters in Rabi’a al-Adawiyya square in Nasr
City, Cairo. That was the signal for the start of this big conspiracy to
turn against the popular will. The CNN as well as the BBC Arabic
service TV channels played a dangerous role in this plot. But the people
and the army were able to foil this plot and the shameful role of
America and the Muslim Brotherhood’s betrayal of the people and the
homeland were exposed. This was a major blow to the schemes of America
and imperialism in the region, and reaffirmed the triumph of the
revolution and the people’s will over the forces of counter-revolution.
Q7 – What is your assessment of the newly appointed interim president, Adly Mansour, and what he should immediately do?
He is a judge who is well-known for his integrity and competence, and
had not professed any political positions or adopted certain biases. The
speech he delivered after he was sworn in and took up his post as
interim president for the transitional period was a good and positive
speech. He stressed that it was "the people alone" who authorized him,
and that the powers granted to him are honorary, but the real authority
will reside in the prime minister who will be chosen by consensus among
the national forces and youth, and who will be charged with the
implementation of tasks agreed upon by national democratic and social
forces. A top priority for the government will be to halt the economic
collapse, implement the urgent demands of the toilers and provide
see the need for continued public pressure in the squares, which was
confirmed by the statement announced by Al-Sisi, protecting the right to
peaceful demonstration. This is to ensure that there will be no
deviation from what has been agreed upon, and to ensure that the army
will not intervene except within the limits agreed to ensure the success
of this difficult transitional stage.
Q8 - What
are the main challenges facing your party, specifically in relation to
other political forces and creating a united alliance?
The main challenge is the need to unite the forces of the left in the
first place to confront the big tasks that we are facing at this stage.
The most important are:
1) To ensure the achievement of the objectives and tasks of the transitional phase.
To achieve consensus on a single candidate for the national and
democratic forces to fight the battle of presidential elections.
To form a front of leftist forces, Nasserites, youth movements and
trade union organizations; to prepare joint lists to fight the
forthcoming parliamentary and local elections; and to exert pressure to
ensure there is no retreat from correcting the path of the revolution in
the transitional phase.
To seek to complete and develop the party structure, to renew the party
with fresh blood, and to develop its program so that we can face the
big challenges that we are confronting.